Country name
conventional long form: Kingdom of Lesotho

conventional short form: Lesotho

local long form: Kingdom of Lesotho

local short form: Lesotho

former: Basutoland

etymology: the name translates as "Land of the Sesotho Speakers"

Government type
parliamentary constitutional monarchy

Capital
name: Maseru

geographic coordinates: 29 19 S, 27 29 E

time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: in the Sesotho language the name means "[place of] red sandstones"

Administrative divisions
10 districts; Berea, Butha-Buthe, Leribe, Mafeteng, Maseru, Mohale's Hoek, Mokhotlong, Qacha's Nek, Quthing, Thaba-Tseka

Independence
4 October 1966 (from the UK)

National holiday
Independence Day, 4 October (1966)

Constitution
history: previous 1959, 1967; latest adopted 2 April 1993 (effectively restoring the 1967 version)

amendments: proposed by Parliament; passage of amendments affecting constitutional provisions, including fundamental rights and freedoms, sovereignty of the kingdom, the office of the king, and powers of Parliament, requires a majority vote by the National Assembly, approval by the Senate, approval in a referendum by a majority of qualified voters, and assent of the king; passage of amendments other than those specified provisions requires at least a two-thirds majority vote in both houses of Parliament; amended several times, last in 2011

Legal system
mixed legal system of English common law and Roman-Dutch law; judicial review of legislative acts in High Court and Court of Appeal

International law organization participation
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship
citizenship by birth: yes

citizenship by descent only: yes

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Suffrage
18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
chief of state: King LETSIE III (since 7 February 1996); note - King LETSIE III formerly occupied the throne from November 1990 to February 1995 while his father was in exile

head of government: Prime Minister Moeketsi MAJORO (since 20 May 2020); note - Prime Minister Thomas THABANE resigned on 19 May 2020

cabinet: consists of the prime minister, appointed by the King on the advice of the Council of State, the deputy prime minister, and 26 other ministers

elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary, but under the terms of the constitution that came into effect after the March 1993 election, the monarch is a "living symbol of national unity" with no executive or legislative powers; under traditional law, the College of Chiefs has the power to depose the monarch, to determine next in line of succession, or to serve as regent in the event that a successor is not of mature age; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition in the Assembly automatically becomes prime minister

Legislative branch
description: bicameral Parliament consists of:
Senate (33 seats; 22 principal chiefs and 11 other senators nominated by the king with the advice of the Council of State, a 13-member body of key government and non-government officials; members serve 5-year terms)
National Assembly (120 seats; 80 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 40 elected through proportional representation; members serve 5-year terms)

elections: Senate - last nominated by the king on 11 July 2017 (next in late July 2022)
National Assembly - last held on 3 June 2017 (next to be held on 30 September 2022)

election results: Senate - percent of votes by party - NA, seats by party - NA; composition - men 26, women 7, percent of women 21.2%
National Assembly - percent of votes by party - ABC 40.5%, DC 25.8%, LCD 9%, AD 7.3%, MEC 5.1%, BNP 4.1, PFD 2.3%, other 5.9%; seats by party - ABC 51, DC 30, LCD 11, AD 9, MEC 6, BNP 5, PFD 3, other 5; composition - men 87, women 28, percent of women 23.3%; note - total Parliament percent of women 22.9%

Judicial branch
highest courts: Court of Appeal (consists of the court president, such number of justices of appeal as set by Parliament, and the Chief Justice and the puisne judges of the High Court ex officio); High Court (consists of the chief justice and such number of puisne judges as set by Parliament); note - both the Court of Appeal and the High Court have jurisdiction in constitutional issues

judge selection and term of office: Court of Appeal president and High Court chief justice appointed by the monarch on the advice of the prime minister; puisne judges appointed by the monarch on advice of the Judicial Service Commission, an independent body of judicial officers and officials designated by the monarch; judges of both courts can serve until age 75

subordinate courts: Magistrate Courts; customary or traditional courts; military courts

Political parties and leaders
All Basotho Convention or ABC [Moeketsi MAJORO]
Alliance of Democrats or AD [Monyane MOLELEKI]
Basotho Action Party or BAP [Ngosa MAHAO]
Basotho National Party or BNP [Thesele MASERIBANE]
Democratic Congress or DC [Mathibeli MOKHOTHU]
Democratic Party of Lesotho or DPL [Limpho TAU]
Lesotho Congress for Democracy or LCD [Mothetjoa METSING]
Movement of Economic Change or MEC [Selibe MOCHOBOROANE]
National Independent Party or NIP [Kimetso MATHABA]
Popular Front for Democracy of PFD [Lekhetho RAKUOANE]
Reformed Congress of Lesotho or RCL [Keketso RANTSO]